Thursday, February 12, 2009

Math Mammoth Review: Simple and Effective





Maria Miller, author of Math Mammoth books, has set out to create a series of math curricula that is affordable, self-teaching, reproducible, and explains the concepts behind the math so children and teachers understand the "why" and "how" of the math.  She has succeeded! 

She has several different lines of mathematics workbooks and worktexts:  the Blue series is for grades 1-5 and are topical; the Light Blue series are complete math curricula available for grades 1-4; the Golden series are age-based workbooks for grades 3-8; and the Green series are topical workbooks for grades 3-8.  The Blue and Light Blue series contain explanations, as well as practice problems.  The Golden and Green series do not have explanations, only practice problems.

We reviewed Grade 1 and Grade 2 of the Light Blue Series, the complete math curricula.  I appreciated the variety of methods Maria Miller used to explain each concept being taught.  The curriculum is topical, in that they work only one concept each day.  They will study money, time-telling, or subtracting two-digit numbers, without daily review to confuse them.  Reviews are provided periodically throughout the curriculum, and links are provided to print more worksheets when children need extra work on a specific concept.  You can also reprint a lesson whenever necessary.

The worktexts are not flashy, and since we printed them at home on our printer, there wasn't any color at all.  Even though they were black and white simple worktext pages, my children enjoyed them.  They were able to focus on learning just one concept each day, and covering the concept thoroughly, from several different directions.  If they didn't really "get it" the first way, they usually "got it" through one of the next sets of problems. 

Both my son and daughter were not ready to go into their grade level Math Mammoth Light Blue Series worktext, according to the placement test Maria Miller provided.  We went with the lower grade level, and I only printed the lessons I felt they needed to cover.  Because we were only covering the concepts my children needed to review and understand more fully, they quickly progressed through the math curriculum.

What I especially love about Math Mammoth is that it is affordable and reusable.    If you've read any of my previous reviews, you know this is important in my family.  There is no expensive teacher's manual to buy separately, either.  Once bought (in digital format), it's just a matter of reprinting it each year, at a much lower cost than replacing workbooks for other curricula. 

The Light Blue Series include 2 worktexts for each grade.  Each worktext download costs $14, or $27 for both of the grade's worktexts.  Also, the curriculum can be bought in a package deal that saves even more money.  If you prefer to buy printed worktexts, those are also available for just over $12 each.  The curriculum is also available on a CD, instead of a download.  The cost is$32 for the CD alone, or $54 for CD and printed worktexts. 

My only concern about the Math Mammoth curriculum is that the Light Blue Series Answer Keys had a few more mistakes in them than I am used to.  Every math curriculum we have used has had at least one error in the answer key each year.  Math Mammoth, especially the 2nd grade Light Blue series, had a few more than we normally see.  That is something to watch for as you are grading.  Hopefully, Maria will be able to correct that.

The Math Mammoth website, also provides links to Maria's other website,  HomeschoolMath.net, which provides free math worksheets and other resources for teachers and parents.  Also, at the Math Mammoth website, you can scroll down on the main page to sign up for the free Math Teaching Emails, and the free Homeschool Math Newsletter.  Signing up for either one will give you access to a free gift of 280 math worksheets!  I receive these emails, and they are full of helpful tips, as well as answers to questions from the readers.

There are no bells and whistles, but Math Mammoth is an effective, affordable, and reusable math curriculum!  We give it a "thumbs up" at our house!

Click the banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting in Him,
April

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